Clean Thoughts

I finally pulled the trigger. I am on Dr. Oz’s Three-day Toxin Cleanse. Until now, I largely snickered at people who cleansed. But recently I read some alarming things about how toxic our environment and food supply are. For instance, most people have up to a pound of plastic dissolved in their bodies. Even more concerning, a study found 200 synthetic chemicals in umbilical cords; we get poisoned before we are even born!

A huge factor in deciding to give juice cleansing a go was reading the DDP nutritional guide, and YRG for Regular Guys, in which DDP extols the virtues of juicing. Generally, I’m not a fan of juicing; I think it’s better for dieting to eat the fruits and vegetables whole, especially if you struggle with overeating like I do. But DDP is yet to steer me wrong, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I don’t have the time to become a lifelong “juicer”, but I can certainly do a short term cleanse. I’m hoping the long term benefits will include encouraging myself to consume more vegetables (instead of the banana and PB I’m getting pretty close to living off exclusively).

So which cleanse to do? It has to be reasonably short, I’m in the middle of marathon training and becoming a YRG certified instructor, so I can’t run off a reduced calorie intake for weeks on end. I have a toddler, so I don’t have time to read a 100-page book about ground up fruit, nor do I possess the will to do so.

So I plugged “toxin cleanse” into Google, and the first result was the Dr Oz one, complete with a one-page printout and shopping list. Free? Check. Minimal reading? Check. 72 hours? Bingo! I’ve never watched Dr. Oz before. I assume he’s not the Grade A tool that Dr. Phil is*, but I don’t really care one way or the other. The cleanse has enough calories, and can be worked around my rest day.

Let me add, I am not convinced by the science of cleansing. I haven’t seen studies of fat tissue biopsies pre- and post-cleanse showing a reduction in absorbed toxins. I don’t believe the empirical evidence of people saying they “felt better” proves anything, but, that said, I would like to feel better (digestive issues and guilt over how much PB I eat), so here we go!

Day 1. 

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Prepped the morning smoothie along with my green tea. I also prepped my lunch smoothie as we’re heading out to the Kohl’s Children’s Museum, and I don’t want to be hungry! The Breakfast Drink looked a little small, but tasted great. The lunch one was huge but looked a little more iffy. I had the Breakfast Drink at 8:30 am, and honestly, I felt pretty great after, more energetic and happy than usual. I was worried about the caffeine in the green tea; I’m acutely sensitive to caffeine but I didn’t feel shaky or paranoid like I do when the brain trusts at DD’s decide to ignore the bit where I say “decaf”.

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By 11:30 I was getting a little peckish, and had my lunch drink at noon. It was a little like a puréed salad, but not too bad. Granted, I was hungry enough at that point to be less fussy! It took a while to eat… And I mean eat! I don’t have a juicer, so I’m using my blender. It was thicker than a normal smoothie, and I liked having to chew it! My daughter was eating a PB&J, which I worried would make me miss my beloved PB, but it was filling enough that I didn’t gaze longingly at her lunch too much! I actually couldn’t eat it all at the museum restaurant, so I finished it in the car on the way home. I didn’t have the same warm, energized feeling that the breakfast shake gave me, so I chalked that up to either excitement of starting the process, or caffeine from the green tea.

Mid-afternoon, I was feeling a little fatigued. It may have been the lack of calories, but it was also about a thousand degrees Celsius yesterday, and I hadn’t drunk as much water as I usually do. I had the dinner drink as my snack drink because it was the only one I hadn’t tried at that point. It wasn’t too bad, though I don’t think I will ever pair blueberries and cayenne pepper after I am done with this.

We went out shopping with the family, and I was thinking about getting dinner ready on the way home. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was beginning to miss actual food. Then  my husband chose to correct me when I said I was one-third done. “No, you’re not, you haven’t had your dinner smoothie yet”. Thanks, Hon!

I had the Dinner Drink before I did my 4 mile run for my marathon. I normally have dinner after working out, but I decided to reallocate the calories as I didn’t think I had the energy to do my run other wise. I actually nailed the run (my time was about 10 minutes per mile, which is good for me). I had my epsom salt bath and called it a night.

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Calories in: 1,452
Calories out: 2,901

Day 2.

I weighed myself this morning, and I am down 3 lbs. I realize that I am eating less calories, but I thought the purpose of this cleanse was to make me more healthy, not to lose weight. In my opinion, the only healthy way to lose weight is to make long term changes to your diet, and have the weight come off as a side-effect of your healthy lifestyle. Crashing off 3 lbs in 24 hours with a diet plan I have zero intention of sustaining is anathema to that principle. As for the health aspect,-and it’s going to get a little indelicate here-  I haven’t had a bowel movement yet, but I have been releasing an industrial-sized amount of room-clearing flatulence! It’s only been 1 day, so I am holding my judgment in that area.

As slept in until 9am this morning today, I was pretty hungry when I woke up, but the Breakfast Drink was satisfying. I have decided that I will be using the Breakfast Drink as my Snack Drink for today and tomorrow. First, it’s the only one that doesn’t taste like a pulverized salad or a habanero-glazed blueberry. Also, it’s the only one I have enough ingredients for; the shopping list doesn’t provide any fruit or vegetables for the Snack Drinks.

I was fulfilled for quite a long time, in part because I was putting off eating the Lunch Drink for as long as possible. I eventually caved at 1:30 and made it. Owing to yesterday’s calorie surplus, I doubled the almond milk (I’m using unsweetened original almond milk which is about 20 calories/serving), and I was a little liberal with the pineapple. It tasted a lot better, though still not something I would consume by choice. I really, really miss solid food. I took my daughter to the store today, and found myself saying, “Soon, my love, soon”, out loud as we passed the peanut butter.

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I had the Breakfast Drink for my snack, and while it was filling, I still cracked and had a couple of tablespoons of Almond Butter. I was still way under my daily calories. Plus, I feel like Almond Butter being on the ingredient list of the cleanse makes it an okay cheat! The dinner smoothie was okay, and filling enough to see me through doing the DDP Level 1 Certification video. I didn’t do as well doing my DDP Yoga as normal, I think the malnourishment was beginning to set in.

Calories in: 1,799
Calories out: 2,400

Day 3.

So close to getting to masticate something, so very close. I am legitimately worried that I may choke or drop food out of my mouth because it has been so long since I have actually eaten real food that I may have forgotten how. Luckily, my 2-year-old has pureed food pouches that I can eat to wean myself back onto solids again if needs be.

I started my day at 4:45 as per Sparky’s story of switching to morning workouts (I’ll detail this in a separate post). I did 5 miles on the elliptical, and while it was a bear, I burned way more calories than usual. I had a few tablespoons of almond butter in between doing the elliptical and my stretches.

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Once I got my daughter up and got us both clean, I had my Breakfast Drink at around 10. As always, it was nice and yummy. I am pleased to report (more indelicate issues about to be discussed) that the two days worth of plant material that went it finally found its way back out, and I am feeling far less bloated.

My Lunch, Snack, and Dinner Drinks were pretty uneventful, aside from an increasing desire to give up and eat real food. In fact, I need to admit to a few slips with the almond butter, and one with a coy temptress called peanut butter. I felt justified in adding peanut butter to a diet to a cleanse that already included almond butter after reading an article that explained they were equally healthy. I had my final Epson Salt & Lavender bath, and went to bed smelling like a Grandma for the last time.

Calories in: 2,174
Calories out: 2,910

Day 4.

Mmmmm, Peanut Butter (and iced coffee too)!

Conclusions

I feel healthy, but not in some outstanding, I-definitely-see-an-improvement kind of way. I have a small quibble with the assertion that it costs less than $16 a day. I didn’t even buy all organic produce and spent more than that. I think if you discount the cost of the Snack Drinks, and somehow find a grocer who is willing to sell you Almond Butter and Coconut Oil by the tablespoon, you might get close to that cost, but it’s not a huge gripe. A pro of this experience is that I am now inspired to add more of the vegetables I ate over the last few days to my regular menu; I hadn’t eaten kale in over a year! I will probably aim to eat all the vegetables I ate during the three days of this cleanse each week from now on. That said, if asked, I probably wouldn’t recommend this cleanse to anyone. Just follow the DDP nutrition plan, and make sustainable lifelong changes to your diet! And join me in my triumphant return to snickering about people who cleanse.

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